I'm going to start from the end. The last song karaoked in our hotel, belting "Colors of the Wind" from Pocahontas. Yup, that happened.
For all of you who don't know much about the Filipino culture, you need to understand their love for karaoke. They love to sing. You haven't had a true Filipino experience until you've rented out a private karaoke room with your friends, ordered several rounds of San Miguel's and taken turns belting out your favorite songs at the very top of your lungs.
|Just trying to fit in with the locals and their favorite hobby|
|Zero fun I tell ya. No fun at all.|
Back to the story.
Sunday night. We just got back from an excellent seafood dinner (2nd night in a row, it was that good) $15 dollars a person for a feast, tables on the beach, feet in the sand and the ocean mere yards away.
We had been trying to leave all day, the plan originally was to catch the 3:30 Sunday afternoon fairy back to Manila, but our family breakfast took several hours (one of our absolute favorite parts of our days..complete with some of the best brewed coffee I've ever had). Post breakfast, we piled in the back of a van type vehicle to take us 45 minutes to the Tamara waterfalls. That was the itinerary for the day.
|Family breakfast. Things happen at this table.|
|'What number cliff is this that I'm jumping off for the weekend?' -common thoughts running through my head|
One of the activities at the falls was jumping off a cliff. A local lifeguard showed me the way to climb it and assisted me through the steps to safely complete the jump. After I cannon balled into the lagoon, I was chatting with him, and he mentioned there was yet another, better, waterfall another 45 minutes further. A common theme I am coming across here: just when you think it can't get better, it does. Magical.
I am a sucker for waterfalls, so I was automatically already hooked. But then, the words, "you ride water buffalo to the falls, cross 6 rivers" came out of his mouth.
Water buffalo? Never have I seen one of those but it suddenly got added to my bucket list of things to do in life. Ride a water buffalo. Ok, yea, let's do that, why not.
|Not a bad view on the way to the Tamaraw Waterfalls|
After another 45 minute drive we had arrived at the Mindanao waterfalls. And before we knew it, were climbing in carts that were hooked up to a very giant water buffalo. One named Charlie and the other slightly smaller one, named Angelo the Buffalo. We trekked, quite bumpily, across 6 rivers and a palm tree jungle, to the most beautiful waterfall I've ever seen.
|Meet Charlie and Angelo the Buffalo. Charlie likes to stop and take really big poops in the water (thank goodness for the courtesy flap), and Angelo just does it while still walking.. show off or rude? I can't decide.|
|What did you do with your life today?|
Scaled rocks and rode water buffalos..no big deal.
|As if the massages aren't cheap enough in the Philippines as it is, nature gives the best one I've ever had..for free! Another classic example of one up ing.|
After one last water buffalo ride, we climbed in our van, dropped off Bart, our Filipino guide who made our day infinitely better by showing us this new found destination, and headed back to our hotel.
We could've left then but one more dinner was in need of course because we just were not ready to leave. We decided upon the same restaurant as the night before and ended the night perfectly.
|Giving thanks for our weekend and our friendships. I love these humans.|
|Sarah Mclaughlin, Celine Dion, Ms. Barack Obama, Pocohantas, Buttman, Mariah Carey, Miley Cyrus and Mrs. George Washington Bush, all in character with our tourist tees|
Finally we had to tear ourselves away from the dinner, depression of going back to reality was getting more and more real.
When we got back to the hotel to pack up our things we ran into a friend we had made that weekend who was also staying at the hotel, Ms. Santorini, a very nice Filipino woman who was ready to give us the world including a chartered boat ride back to Manila.
"You guys have been trying to leave since I saw you this morning!" She said in disbelief.
And she was very right haha, it was 10 pm and we still didn't look like we were going anywhere any time soon.
She then proceeded to tell us she was about to do karaoke and for us to join, ahhhh how can we leave with an offer like that!? But we had to kindly turn her down, it was time.
A few of us went to the bathroom in the hotel lobby and as we were coming out there was a door straight across that had, low and behold, a videoke machine hooked up, turned on and calling our names.
We sprinted in quickly like we were little children trying to get away from our parents and started to flip through the book. One thing led to another and we were singing song after song. Ms. Santorini ended up finding us, she probably followed the angelic voices that were being carried through the hallways..joke. haha
Once again we successfully found a distraction to keep us in Puerto Galera just a little bit longer, darn. Finally we decided to be responsible and pick one last song, and we picked the perfect one. "Colors of the Wind". We passed around the microphone verse to verse and sang with every part of our being as the words couldn't be more fitting:
How high will the sycamore grow?
If you cut it down, then you'll never know
And you'll never hear the wolf cry to the blue corn moon
For whether we are white or copper skinned
We need to sing with all the voices of the mountains
We need to paint with all the colors of the wind
You can own the Earth and still
All you'll own is Earth until
You can paint with all the colors of the wind
|The view standing from our hotel door, now do you know why we didn't want to leave?|
So many things happened this weekend that I don't even have the words to explain...commence picture story time:
|1st Jeepnie Ride! And we had it all to ourselves! How do we get this back to America?|
|Pre Zipline jitters|
Thank you slow motion iPhone setting for improving my quality of life this weekend
|Post Zipline excitment, can we do it again? And again?|
|Who knew tires had some many functions, walking in the sky|
|Little Mermaid, Part of Your World..it was a disney song singing themed kind of weekend|
|Dancing on the beach with fire, setting the standards for the rest of life pretty high over here|
|Private party boat to ourselves on day 1 where we snorkeled then went to an underwater cave and ate our first sea urchin!!|
|Me trying to warm up to Charlie, Kaylee trying to warm up to me|
|Just some Coloradoans hiking the jungle|
And this is how we all described the weekend in 160 characters or less because after all we are in the #socialmediacapitaloftheworld:
The Philippines might be the best place on earth. #nowbacktowork #RCColaRaiders
FACT: It is more fun in the Philippines! #partyboat #puertogalera
Haven't showered in 3 days except for in waterfalls #problemsidonthate #puertogalera
Took a water buffalo ride to a waterfall today, there's something I never thought I'd say. #itsbetterinthephilippines
This happened today. Fair to say Filipino islands have some wonderful places..
Gotta stay hydrated when in the jungle, ya know? #howisthisreallife #itsmorefuninthephilippines
Had the best weekend ever!!
I just realized how beautiful our country is. Thank you Lord!! #itsmorefuninthephilippines
600 m zipline through the mountains!! #scaredofheights #ibelieveicanfly #puertogalera #secretlang
Puerto Galera, we just can't seem to leave you!!! #toomanyadventures
So THISSSS is the Philippines. Never leaving. #besthoneymoonever
#itsmorefuninthephilippines #tukuranfalls #puertogalera
Never been happier? Too much? #inlovewiththeworldanditspeople
Best weekend of my professional career. #PuertoGalera #thatfilipinolife #neverleaving
And there you have it.
Thank you Puerto Galera for an experience beyond words; we all loved your nature, your food, your adventures.